Archbishop Jason Gordon says social media has turned the 15-year-old school boy who allegedly chopped his mother into a notorious figure by posting his photos.
Gordon made the comment during an interview with reporters following the confirmation of Presentation College students at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, San Fernando, yesterday. The schoolboy attends a secondary school in Chaguanas.
On Sunday, the Children’s Authority issued a release calling on the public to remove all images of the teenager and his family from social media sites, after photos of both he and his mother were leaked online.
The South West Regional Health Authority has also launched an investigation into how photos of the mother getting treatment at the hospital were leaked on social media.
The teen allegedly chopped his mother, almost severing her hand at their Freeport home on April 19. However, he was released from police custody without being charged.
Yesterday, Gordon said, “Whenever a young person commits an act of violence it is always a very sad and alarming moment. From everything that I have heard about the young man, what he is accused of is way out of character. In fact, the last report I saw, it is suggested that the accusation might have even been a false accusation. I have not seen the evidence.”
Asked his views on the boy’s photos being circulating on social media, he said, “Social media is a wonderful blessing and it is an incredibly destructive tool at the same time because they have made him into a notorious figure, a figure where everyone knows his face and he should have been protected because he is under-age and there are laws to protect children and he should have been protected and those laws should have been used for social media also.”
Asked if concerns have been raised about the boy returning to school, Gordon asked, “Was he convicted? If he has not been convicted our country practices a sacred law, innocent until proven guilty.”
He said the first response of the school was to reach out to the family. Through the Education Minister and Catholic Educational Board, he said counsellors have provided counselling to the boy’s peers and teachers.
“I know a lot of work has happened in the school and I know the board was on top of it in terms of making sure the pastoral care for teachers, for students, for parents and especially for the young man and his parents, that was in place.”